My husband and I travelled with my 82 year old grandmother who is almost (or so we thought!) entirely wheelchair bound. She had previously undertaken an ocean cruise around the Med with her 2 daughters last September, with high hopes, and had found it to be a complete disaster and entirely unmanageable. When we booked this, she really wanted 'one last big holiday' but to say she was apprehensive was an understatement.
We didn't think we'd find something to cater for her needs but I am thrilled to say AMA Waterways more than exceeded our expectations. The staff onboard were OUTSTANDING. Their patience, humour, care & understanding was second to none. I am all too aware that we were probably far more demanding than most guests, due to my grandmother's mobility issues but nothing was too much trouble.
Christian Abker, our Cruise Director, talked me through each day's visits the night before so that we could decide whether the terrain was suitable, and he would suggest alternatives where possible. Hotel Manager Ouvidia always had a smile and would open the elevator door for us or whisk obstacles out of the way without us even asking. Our housekeeping assistant Alecsandra changed my grandmothers room and bed around to suit her and was so pleasant each day, and our waiter, Denis, had us laughing from start to finish, with impeccable service. The food & regional wines were exceptional. No sooner had we taken a sip from our wine glasses than they were topped up by our wine waitress, Aleksandra, always with a smile.
The on board entertainment, in the form of Miroslav, the multi-talented musician was, for my grandmother, the real highlight. She danced. For the first time in many, many years. She got out of her wheelchair and danced with my husband and I, then with friends we made from America & Canada and then with our Cruise Director. She drank Pina Coladas in the bar until midnight (she is usually in bed by 9pm), she donned orange sunglasses for the Sixties Party, and she was up and out on the next trip early the next morning after another gorgeous breakfast from Chef Michel. She hasn't crammed so much into such a short space of time for at least 20 years.
All 3 of us smiled the entire time. We visited some beautiful countries and cities, accompanied by excellent tour guides - who were all patient in helping my grandmother on and off the coaches each day - and we loved every minute of it. Our personal favourites were Strasbourg & our tour guide Irmi and a beautiful morning in Rudesheim trying speciality coffees and wines - brilliant, even in the rain!
On this tour, we were the only Brits on board. All the other guests, from America, Canada, Singapore, Argentina, Italy and so on, were so friendly and we have exchanged numbers and addresses with many of them. Several of them had done lots of river cruises before and had said that this was easily the best they had been on. Having not been on any other cruise myself, I have nothing to compare it to. Having said that, if (when!) I do it again, I will certainly have very high stanards for the next one to live up to!
Anyway, I'm sorry that was a bit of an essay, but we really wanted to thank you for giving us such an enjoyable, enriching week. Hopefully, we will do it again soon - Gran fancies the Danube next! She's suddenly become unstoppable!
Written by Ms Reed